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The coaching profession is constantly changing and coaches at every level need to know more than just the basics to ensure success in the field.  This is why education and further professional development such as conferences, workshops, and mentoring are vital to a coaches career path. Coaching should be a profession where the opportunity for continuous learning should never be passed up.

Career-long learning is essential for coaches to stay relevant and up-to-date on their sport and its practices. Gaining years of experience as a coach is essential to progress in terms of professional development but if career-long learning is not on the radar, it can mean passing up chances for you and your athletes to grow. Here are some ideas on how to expand your knowledge:

  1. Try mentoring – Mentoring can be highly effective in coach development since it can expand your knowledge base by exposing you to a variety of styles, skills and techniques learned by others.
  2. Reflective practice – There is always room for improvement!  During practice or even competition, coaches can reflect on their own performance, rethink their actions, and learn from the experience.  If taking a notebook along to write down your ideas for change helps you out, take one along.
  3. Look for educational opportunities – Sign yourself up to meet new people and hear different perspectives, whether it’s a webinar, conference, workshop or joining an association; surround yourself with others in your field.

A lot of research has been done on how people learn and it shows that experience and working with or observing others is the most influential method of developing your knowledge base. A coach who seeks opportunities for development, works with others, and develops a reflective practice could easily be on their way to being a high-level practitioner capable of producing high-level performers.

References from the SIRC Collection: 

1. Callary B, Werthner P. Exploring the Learning Environment of Women Coaches. Canadian Journal For Women In Coaching. July 2011;11(3):1-7.
2. Cushion C, Armour K, Jones R. Coach education and continuing professional development: experience and learning to coach. Quest (00336297). August 2003;55(3):215-230.
3. Nash C, Sproule J, Callan M, McDonald K, Cassidy T. Career Development of Expert Coaches. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. March 2009;4(1):121-138.
4. Norman L. Developing female coaches: strategies from women themselves. Asia-Pacific Journal Of Health, Sport & Physical Education. December 2012;3(3):227-238.
5. Thibert H. Developing Your Coaching Philosophy. Olympic Coach. Fall2008 2008;20(4):24-26.
6. Werthner P, Trudel P. Investigating the Idiosyncratic Learning Paths of Elite Canadian Coaches. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. September 2009;4(3):433-449.

The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.